Crawford’s double vision after Ampthill victory

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Stuart Crawford wants Hadleigh United to become the first team to win the Eastern Counties League and FA Vase in the same season.

The Brettsiders reached the quarter-finals of the Vase for the first time in their 121-year history with a 2-1 success at Ampthill Town on Saturday.

Despite suffering from an injury list that would cripple most clubs, Crawford believes his squad has the depth to challenge for Thurlow Nunn Premier honours, as well as a place in the FA Vase final at Wembley Stadium on May 4.

“We’ve got the players to compete on both fronts,” he said. “We’ve got a lot experience and a lot of different options.

“If everyone is fired up with the right mentality — which I am trying to instil in them — then there is no reason why we can’t compete in both.

“We’ve got a lot to do in the league because we will have to come from behind, but I believe we can do it.”

Several of Hadleigh’s players were carrying knocks on Saturday — including match winner Marcus Josiah (groin) — while top scorer Scott Chaplin (hamstring) was missing from the squad all together and Lee McGlone (ankle) and Ollie Canfer (head) forced off with injuries.

“We were like the walking wounded,” added Crawford, reflecting on the win at Ampthill. “Once again I am proud of our defenders and our goalkeeper — who made two class saves — and the whole club is proud we have got this far.”

United visit last season’s runners-up Ely City on Saturday (3pm) before travelling to bottom club FC Clacton on Tuesday (7.45pm).

The Millfield-based outfit also host Norwich United on February 23 before an FA Vase quarter-final away to Bath-based Larkhall Athletic, or Kent outfit Tunbridge Wells on March 2.

“I’m a bit gutted we are not at home because it would have been nice for the supporters,” said Crawford. “But the lads will be well prepared.”